Philippe Myers

Debating Flyers' biggest disappointment from 2019-20 training camp, preseason

Debating Flyers' biggest disappointment from 2019-20 training camp, preseason

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra, Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall.

The topic: After touching on the positives, who was the Flyers' biggest disappointment during training camp and the preseason?

Destra

There's a ton of excitement around the anticipation of having Carter Hart between the pipes for his first full season. But what about when he needs to rest? What about when the Flyers play games on back-to-back days and he's able to play in only one of them?

Don't get me wrong, managing the amount of games the 21-year-old should play has to be one of their top priorities in order to avoid another carousel of goaltenders.

So when Hart is resting, how confident should we be with Brian Elliott? If his presesaon was any indication of the performance we'll get moving forward — not too confident.  

Now, it was just the preseason. I'll say that again — it was just the preseason. And it's important to remember that there's no need to overreact until games start to matter.

Elliott appeared in four out of seven preseason games and, for the most part, it wasn't pretty.

In his first three appearances, he allowed seven goals and had an .873 save percentage. Following the team's overtime loss in Boston last week, it did not appear that Alain Vigneault was impressed by Elliott's performance and it looked like the head coach was vocal about it behind the bench.

"You can't win with goaltending like that," Vigneault appeared to say.

If your coach is concerned about the performance of the backup goaltender, we should be, too.

Elliott's only strong performance came during his fourth game on Monday afternoon, when the Flyers lost to Lausanne HC. Yes, Elliott looked solid, but it was against a team that isn't even in the NHL ... so do what you will with that information.

Emmer

Improving the blue line was undoubtedly a focal point in the offseason for the Flyers.

The team acquired new veteran presences Justin Braun and Matt Niskanen with hopes that its current defensive core will show improvements.

Someone who needs to show improvement is Shayne Gostisbehere. 

He’s a good defenseman, he’s shown it in his five seasons with the orange and black — most noticeably in the 2017-18 season, when he finished with a career-high 65 points. 

Of course you can’t expect those kind of numbers every year, but after his 37 points and minus-20 rating in 2018-19, there's a lot of hope that his strong game will bounce back this year.

That being said, he didn’t stand out as much as expected in camp. He made an impact on special teams, but didn’t make it on the score sheet once during preseason action.

Among many reasons, it could have been because Vigneault frequently changed around his pairings.

Gostisbehere will be surrounded by a new staff this season. There is no saying what this personnel will be able to accomplish once the puck drops in the regular season. 

Despite the preseason, who says Gostisbehere isn’t on track for another 60-plus-point year?

Hall

There are a number of ways to go here.

Andy Andreoff was signed to possibly win a job in the Flyers’ bottom six but didn’t, even with injuries to Nolan Patrick and Tyler Pitlick widening the door.

Morgan Frost didn’t underperform but a groin injury led to a second straight abbreviated preseason. If Frost stayed healthy, he could have scored his way into the third-line center position.

Kurtis Gabriel was knocked out of the preseason in his first game. The big winger was expected to make the Flyers’ decisions much harder but a lower-body injury threw a wrench into those plans.

But we’ll go with Philippe Myers. It’s not that he was severely disappointing, but an uneven preseason performance led to the 22-year-old defenseman disappointingly falling short of the Flyers’ initial roster to open the 2019-20 campaign.

During the summer, general manager Chuck Fletcher said the Flyers were bullish on Myers’ upside. After the rookie game, AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon said Myers was an NHL player. Myers seemed poised for a full-time role this year following a 21-game taste of the NHL last season.

"They told me that I should be chomping at the bit for this training camp,” Myers said on Sept. 7. “I want that, too, I want to be a top-four guy, have a bigger role on the team and help the team win.”

The excitement over Myers is still very much alive. It’s just on hold for now and I didn’t expect it to be.

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2019-20 Flyers roster: No Joel Farabee or Philippe Myers; things can change

2019-20 Flyers roster: No Joel Farabee or Philippe Myers; things can change

Joel Farabee did everything but score.

He showed everything else during training camp and the preseason to prove he could make the Flyers better in 2019-20.

And that wasn't good enough to crack the team's roster ... for now.

The Flyers had to submit their roster Tuesday by 5 p.m. ET. They did so without Farabee and Philippe Myers on it. The team's regular season opener is Friday in Prague, Czech Republic.

Just six days ago, after Farabee stood out in a preseason game at Madison Square Garden, head coach Alain Vigneault said this about the prospect:

If he's not in the lineup that first game, it would be a surprise.

Maybe Vigneault surprised himself.

A few important things to remember:

• A week ago, general manager Chuck Fletcher stressed how the Flyers' submitted roster would be far from sacrosanct.

"We could even carry 20 or 21, we'll just have to see how the cap situation and how the math works out," he said. "I anticipate an awful lot of roster changes the first six weeks of the year. 

"There's not going to be any final roster, final cuts. There's going to an ebb and flow of players between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley for the early part of the season, depending on who we're playing, the health of our team, whether we need right shots or left shots, or wingers or centeremen."

The Flyers' roster is at 20 players — 11 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies. Three players are on injured reserve. Would the team start the season playing down a forward with an extra defenseman? Highly unlikely.

• These initial transactions could be cap-related moves. According to CapFriendly.com, the Flyers have $283,811 in cap space. Tyler Pitlick is nearing a return and could be ready to go for the opener despite missing all of the preseason and most of training camp. He's with the Flyers in Europe, already counts against the cap and would make sense for the bottom six as the 12th forward.

Farabee could be back if the Flyers decide to move one of their injured players to long-term injured reserve and recall the 19-year-old winger. Will that happen? It's hard to say as Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder) and Andy Welinski (lower body) are considered week to week.

If Farabee stays down, he won't be down for long. He looks like an NHL player right now and there's no doubt he makes this team better.

• The Flyers are still "bullish" on Myers' upside. The 22-year-old defenseman had a so-so camp and preseason. A key in this scenario is that Myers is still waivers exempt. If the Flyers tried to send Samuel Morin to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, he would have to first clear waivers.

Robert Hagg is the steady, reliable option right now, Morin is the extra and Myers needs to play. He will do so in big minutes with the Phantoms.

Forwards

Connor Bunnaman
Sean Couturier
Claude Giroux
Kevin Hayes
Travis Konecny
Scott Laughton
Oskar Lindblom
Michael Raffl
Carsen Twarynski
James van Riemsdyk
Jakub Voracek

Defense

Justin Braun
Shayne Gostisbehere
Robert Hagg
Samuel Morin
Matt Niskanen
Ivan Provorov
Travis Sanheim

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

Injured non-roster

Nolan Patrick
Tyler Pitlick
Andy Welinski

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Carsen Twarynski's climb, Philippe Myers' battle, more in Flyers stock watch

Carsen Twarynski's climb, Philippe Myers' battle, more in Flyers stock watch

The Flyers' roster is rounding into shape.

For now.

The team made seven cuts Tuesday, trimming its roster to 27 players (see story). The Flyers must be down to a maximum of 23 by 5 p.m. on Oct. 1.

When the Flyers submit their roster, don't fall in love with it. Right now, "It's just about getting ready for Prague," Chuck Fletcher said.

"We could even carry 20 or 21, we'll just have to see how the cap situation and how the math works out," the Flyers' general manager said on a conference call Tuesday. "I anticipate an awful lot of roster changes the first six weeks of the year. Our goal right now is to get a roster to play Chicago in Prague. When we get back, I'm sure there will be things we need to do as we move forward.

"There's not going to be any final roster, final cuts. There's going to be an ebb and flow of players between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley for the early part of the season, depending on who we're playing, the health of our team, whether we need right shots or left shots, or wingers or centeremen."

The Flyers play two more preseason games — Thursday at the Rangers and Sept. 30 in Switzerland — before opening the regular season Oct. 4 against the Blackhawks in Prague, Czech Republic.

Who's trending up for the trip? Who's trending down? Let's take a look at the stock:

Stock up

Carsen Twarynski

Twarynski is doing just about everything possible to win a job. Playing fourth-line minutes over the past two games, the 21-year-old delivered a pair of goals, nine shots and six hits.

The 2016 third-round pick has a year of pro experience under his belt, exemplifies bottom-six effort and is giving the Flyers exactly what they wanted — a difficult decision.

Joel Farabee

The one-and-done Boston University product survived Tuesday's cuts, which tells you how much the Flyers like the advanced 19-year-old. They clearly don't think he's far off and want to see him in another game.

Farabee, a point-producing winger, hasn't found the back of the net through three outings. However, he impacts the game when he's not scoring and can scale the lineup.

I'm not as concerned about Joel in the short term as I am in the long term. He's going to be a really good player in this league for a long time. What that means for a week from Friday, we'll see. 

He's a real smart player. For a 19-year-old player, he's ahead of the curve with respect to awareness of the game away from the puck, his defensive understanding of the game. He's obviously a highly competitive kid, very intelligent kid. But it's a tough league for a 19-year-old player. What we do with Joel will be what's right for the team, but also what's right for him in the long run.

- Fletcher

Connor Bunnaman

An under-the-radar performer through training camp and the preseason, Bunnaman is in the picture. Originally, the 21-year-old seemed destined to open 2019-20 in Lehigh Valley, but with the winger vacancy and the uncertainty surrounding the health of Nolan Patrick and Tyler Pitlick, he has a chance to help the Flyers.

The 2016 fourth-round pick scored 19 goals last season in his first year as a pro. He has some deceptive speed and power, which he showed here against Travis Sanheim.


Stock down

Chris Stewart

Competing on a pro tryout, Stewart has been as advertised with his physicality and toughness. He has fought twice, stood up for teammates and accrued 14 penalty minutes.

Fletcher knows the 31-year-old winger from their time together in Minnesota, but the Flyers have better, younger, more skilled options for their bottom six. They have a chance to get deeper and won't have a problem with toughness if they're bigger and tougher to play against.

Philippe Myers

Let's be clear: Myers has not played poorly but more so unevenly. He was better Monday night compared to his previous game when Vigneault said, "I think he might be trying to do a little bit too much — he needs to be strong in his 1-on-1 battles and keeping his puck decisions at a high percentage."

It's not that Myers' stock is plummeting, but the organization was bullish on his upside entering camp and the 22-year-old defenseman may be in a closer competition for playing time (i.e. Robert Hagg) than I anticipated.

Nolan Patrick

There's just a lot of unknown with Patrick (upper-body injury) as this was not the start anyone wanted for the 21-year-old center this season. While he has been skating and involved in team meetings, he hasn't experienced Vigneault's high-paced, system-oriented practices and his status for the season opener is in peril.

It's never good to miss the preseason. It's even more difficult when a new coaching staff is in place.

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